03/16/2013 11:51 am ET Updated May 16, 2013

Boost Your Metabolism and Fight the Snack Attack

It happens to all of us, that lull in the day when our snack cravings come creeping up. When deciding whether to pony up the cash for your favorite vending machine snack or if you should sneak away to that tray of leftover pastries in the break room, ask yourself one question: Am I really hungry? Many times our bodies can fool us into thinking we are hungry when actually we are just bored, tired, stressed or even thirsty. There are two types of people: snackers and non-snackers. Some people can eat three meals a day and be completely satisfied. Many others, however, need that snack to hold them over to the next meal. If you are one of the many out there that need a snack to curb hunger, why not boost your metabolism while enjoying that healthy snack?

The Morning Snacker
If you start to feel that craving hit before lunch, a perfect way to fight off that hunger is with something simple. A cup of hot or iced green tea is the perfect option. Not only is it very low in calories, but studies have shown green tea contains a substance called EGCG, which is a powerful antioxidant with calorie-burning properties. If green tea seems a bit too bland, try a packet of E-boost. It not only contains green tea, but with flavors like orange, pink lemonade and pomegranate it will also leave you satisfied and energized until lunch.

The Mid-Day Snacker
Many times our day can be unpredictable. It can start on track with a healthy lunch around noon, then work and errands take over and you may not be sitting down for your next meal until seven hours later. If the gap between lunch and dinner is a long one, a light snack may be just what you need. With so many options out there it is easy to consume unnecessary calories during a snack break. So instead, look for a snack that can work double-duty by curbing your hunger and boosting your metabolism. Go for something spicy! Research has shown that spicy foods containing red pepper can heat up your body and boost your metabolism. A low-calorie, portion controlled snack like Oloves Hot Chili Mama olives is a perfect option. I love this spicy option because you can throw a pack in your bag, and with only 50 calories, it is a guilt-free snack. Not into olives? Try sprinkling Hail Merry Chimayo Chile Pecans over Greek yogurt for a creamy, spicy snack.

The Light-Dinner Snacker
Sometimes a light dinner, like salad, can have you rummaging through the refrigerator later in the night. if you are looking for a simple dinner and are not feeling content with just a salad, quinoa is great option that has been shown to boost your metabolism and burn fat. Try enjoying a salad with a side serving of quinoa soup like Nature's Earthly Choice- Easy Quinoa Lentil Soup. Quinoa is packed with protein and fiber, which are both champions at fighting off hunger and burning fat.

The Late-Night Snacker
Like many of us, you have finished dinner but don't feel quite satisfied until you have had a tasty treat to end your night. Many studies have presented cinnamon as a metabolism booster. Lucky for us, cinnamon usually comes baked into something sweet. I love to pop a Nature's Bakery Apple Cinnamon fig bar in the microwave for a few seconds and top with frozen berries. Another bonus: Figs are packed with antioxidants and can help you feel fuller, longer.

For more by Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, click here.

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